Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik announced his retirement from the 50-over format shortly after his team bowed out of the Cricket World Cup, narrowly missing out on a semi-finals spot.
All-rounder Malik, 37, played 287 one-day internationals for Pakistan and scored 7,534 runs including nine centuries. The off-spinner also picked up 158 wickets in the format.
“Today was our last game, and I’m retiring from ODI cricket,” Malik told reporters after Pakistan thrashed Bangladesh by 94 runs at Lord’s on Friday, according to Reuters.
“I had planned this for a few years ago to retire on the last Pakistan World Cup match. I’m sad that I’ll be leaving a format of cricket that I loved but happy that I’ll have more time to spend with my family.
“This will also allow me to focus on Twenty20 cricket.”
“I have no regrets. But it’s just that I have been too flexible in my batting order. I have batted wherever the team wanted. I have been dropped many times, I missed a few years of international cricket and have been around for 20 years,” Malik said. “I am disappointed to be judged on two bad games here,” he said as cited by SportStar.
Malik feels that even if Pakistan decides to look beyond Sarfaraz Ahmed as the skipper, the new man should be given a longer rope. “I hope anyone appointed in a leadership role gets at least two years before he is properly judged. Things don’t change overnight,” he said, adding that former captain and country’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, is also trying his best. “But it takes time…”
Malik, who made his debut in 1999, was the most capped player in Pakistan’s current World Cup squad but was dropped after the team’s humiliating loss to arch-rivals India in Manchester last month.
He managed just eight runs in his three matches, including two ducks, and took one wicket.
Malik, who led Pakistan to the final of the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007 where they lost to India, was a key member of the side’s triumph in the following edition in England in 2009.
Malik, who said his goal was to play the shortest format’s showpiece event in Australia next year, was congratulated by his wife Sania Mirza, the Indian tennis player.
“Every story has an end, but in life every ending is a new beginning’ @realshoaibmalik… u have proudly played for your country for 20 years and u continue to do so with so much honour and humility… Izhaan and I are so proud of everything you have achieved but also for who u r,” Mirza said on Twitter.